KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Despite losing franchise pillars Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu, and watching AFC West rivals load up with talent through free agency and trades, Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said he feels good about the team’s chances this season.
“We have the guys and we have the wiring to be really good,” Veach said. “Given our track record, given our coaching staff … I feel optimistic, I’d say.”
The Chiefs opted not to re-sign Mathieu, who this week signed instead with the New Orleans Saints. They also decided not to extend the contract of Hill, who wanted to be the NFL’s highest paid wide receiver in a market with exploding salaries for players at that position.
The Chiefs were able to cover a lot of ground in the draft with 10 picks, including two in each of the first two rounds. They added, among others, a cornerback in Trent McDuffie, a pass-rusher in George Karlaftis and a wide receiver in Skyy Moore.
The Chiefs might not have made the huge moves some of their AFC West rivals did before the draft, but they didn’t ignore free agency. They signed Mathieu’s replacement in safety Justin Reid and added two veteran wide receivers in JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
The recent roster activity has the Chiefs thinking they are ready to compete for a seventh straight division title and a spot in a fifth straight AFC Championship Game.
“I feel pretty good about the work we did in the offseason,” Veach said. “We had a lot of things we had to accomplish. I feel good about our approach. I feel good about the plan we had. It was tricky, especially when the receiver market went crazy.
“I feel good not just about the talent we added but the quantity. I think we added a lot of good talent.”
In McDuffie, Karlaftis, Reid and third-round linebacker Leo Chenal, the Chiefs potentially have four new starters on defense. The defensive makeover is similar to the one Veach and the Chiefs performed in 2019.
That year, the Chiefs started slowly defensively but were playing well by season’s end. The Chiefs went on to win Super Bowl LIV.
“There could be a transitional period here with these guys, too,” Veach said. “You’re talking about a rookie corner and a rookie linebacker and a rookie defensive end, a safety that was brought in from Houston. That’s a lot of moving parts there. It looks good on paper, but there’s a ton of work that has to be done.”